Alan Asselin


Murderous heights beckon
sad soldiers from the waste
of oil and prison.
To grasp the lives, the lines
of a history, badly told
she grips the rail:
Don’t look down.
Upwards sideways across
the span over the gulf
of time, an abyss, great
gaps of little glimpses
scrape the tiles of muck
snd scum from the neck
of a wine bottle like a
giraffe or howler.
Why stop and think the stop
sign is down the block a
ways and the bicycles never
let up, keep whirring past
fields of butterflies and
marshmallow flowers, fullness
of seed, ripe, not
rotten, with life or joy or
death as joy.
The rope taut now
the weight bears some
resemblance to the black
on her soul, crying for
the children of war and
the child of hatred
born into a lambswool
jacket at the bottom of
the hill at the edge of
the battle for the right
to the rest of this young
Boy’s Life: Sitting
thumbing old copies
of news and campfire
tips on broiling the day’s catch
from the river flowing between
them through the familiar
chasm that calls from below
her gripping the rail with
white-knuckled fist
fast, gleaming strides of
steel and heat. Sweat beads.
Bad dreams of salt
licks in a field of Queen
Anne’s lace and stones and
cows with wide eyes
lowing in the sun of this
alpen meadow.


She beat me on the back of my
neck with her wooden sandal
until I backhanded her.
I was driving.
I have a headache now.

She held me in the den at the point
of a thirteen inch kitchen knife.
All I wanted to do was leave.
I was on probation.
I wasn’t supposed to be there,
but she had called me and cried,
so I went.
I was living down the road
with a friend of ours.
A woman
I was sleeping with.

She grew tired and lowered the knife.
The kids said bye as I walked out.
In shock.
They had witnessed.
They had witnessed other things, too.

Kansas Confessional

I landed in one of
those flat Midwestern places
that reverberate with a bloody
past buried under the
remains of sod houses and stands
of cottonwoods. Pioneering
spirit brings an old way,
the country’s ghost,
to a place verdant and lush
with the spirit of nature and an ancient
legend known only to crows.

I pretended a spirit journey,
a quest for the secret meaning
of a recurrent dream of a wolf
or a buffalo or a bear with a missing claw.
The connection is poor, my wild man
was from Nazareth, and the dogma
of my ancestors harks only to the Vatican.

Alan Asselin

Alan Asselin was raised in a small town in New Hampshire. He started writing poetry and designing houses when he was 13 years old. He joined the US Air Force in 1971 and almost immediately joined protests against the war in Vietnam; he was discharged in 1972. He helped raise a family, mostly in Vermont, and ran a business designing houses. He’s been in Boston since 2006, unemployed since 2009, formerly homeless for nearly two years. For the last 18 months or so he has been busy working with other Veterans in reading and discussion groups, and, especially, facilitating and attending Warrior Writers poetry workshops. His work can be seen in the 2014 Warrior Writers Anthology, and he is working on a book of poetry.